This week I’ve been connecting with many people for a variety of reasons around Winnipeg – which is very winter like I should add.  I’m also attending the Church Planting Conference called The Congress.  The speakers, as usual, are very good.  I enjoyed listening to Gary Nelson – very insightful.  Here’s a couple of my take aways so far.

First of all – I am delighted to see so many people, good people, involved in the church planting movement.  Second – I remain convinced that planting new churches is still the most effective way to move forward the Kingdom of God  but I would add this appendix, that planting must be mission focused in a context of the culture.
Third – that it is easy for the average pastor to feel like he/she is a failure when the model of success is the mega church…and as most churches average 75 or less success is the state of The Church not the model we see in North America.
Four – pastors often want answers to questions about methodology, but my sense is that what they should be looking for are the right questions.  The right questions can help clarify the direction of mission and therefore the methodology.
Five – mission and ministry are messy, often unpredictable and incredibly rewarding.

My favourite presentation so far has been by Gary Nelson who shared some insights around the changing Canadian context of ministry.  His point – it isn’t 1955 anymore – was humorous and poignant.  At first read that seems obvious but the examples he used was insightful.  And more importantly was his comments around how in the following years The Church has not clearly understood that waiting for people to come, who aren’t coming, has not entirely been understood.  His point – if you’re waiting for people to just walk in – they aren’t going to.

Of course questions without answers is nothing more than frustrating.  Gary had some good direction for us and I felt enriched by that session and the other speakers.  If you have never attended a Church Planting Conference I would suggest you think about being there next year.

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